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Category: Australia

Ireland to Sydney with Charley Boorman

Adventurer Charley Boorman sets off on his most daring adventure yet–ditching his trusty motorbike to travel over 20,000 miles, through 25 countries from his home town Wicklow County, Ireland to Sydney, Australia, by any means. By Any Means, also known as Ireland to Sydney by Any Means, is a television series following Long Way Round and Long Way Down star Charley Boorman. Travelling from Wicklow, Ireland, to Sydney, Australia, it features him completing the journey using 112 modes of transport and only travelling by plane when absolutely necessary.

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(Video hosted on Google.)
“Ireland to Sydney” by any means
Charley Boorman

harley Boorman has been the Long Way Round, the Long Way Down, but never The Solo Winding Trail To Somewhere. That’s pretty much was he’s doing in Charley Boorman: Ireland to Sydney by Any Means (BBC Two, Sunday, 14 September, 8pm). Without Ewan McGregor, this particular series of travelogues has lost The Star Of The Show. Ewan McGregor has presumably gone back to the day job, leaving Boorman to stick out alone. Now, as Boorman doesn’t command the same affection on the silver screen (yup, he’s an actor) it’s fair to assume that this show will be pale and wan in comparision to the previous outings, right? The premise for the show is for Charley Boorman, the producer bloke from Long Way Round/Down and a cameraman called Mungo (I can only assume that his real name is Jerry) to get from Ireland to Australia using as many modes of transport as possible. Now, as Boorman’s last outings were for charity, visiting countries blighted by wars and all manner of terrible things, it’s not clear why he’s doing this. To be honest, I don’t really care. I mean, I’m a TV critic, not a ‘concerned type’ (well, not today at least). The reason I’m not too fussed is because, as a TV show, …By Any Means is pretty enjoyable, if quite pointless on the surface of things.

Season 1 Episode 1: EPISODE: 1
Documentary following the adventurer through 25 countries, as he tries to make it across land and sea from his hometown in Co Wicklow to Australia on more than 100 forms of transport available to the locals every day. After deciding on a route that avoids the most dangerous places on Earth, he, his producer and his cameraman begin the first leg of the journey across the Irish Sea to England.

Season 1 Episode 2: EPISODE: 2
The adventurer applies his newfound sailing skills as he crosses the English Channel in a dinghy. His journey then takes him through mainland Europe and western Asia using a plethora of different vehicles, in a race to make it to Dubai in time to catch a container ship to Mumbai, India. However, he must first negotiate a host of obstacles, including the major bureaucratic hurdle of being granted the necessary visas to enter Iran.

Season 1 Episode 3: EPISODE: 3
The adventurer and his team make it across the Persian Gulf to Dubai, where they catch a container ship to India. After soaking up the colours, smells and flavours of Mumbai, they endure a 19-hour train journey to Delhi, where they take part in a tuk tuk race through the city. They then ride to Agra astride two handmade classic motorbikes, but cameraman Mungo seriously injures his knee and is forced to return home.

Season 1 Episode 4: EPISODE: 4
The team reach Nepal, where they journey by tractor, local bus and dugout canoe to get to the Royal Chitwan National Park. Charley bonds with an elephant that takes him through remote Nepali villages, before reaching the capital Kathmandu. The adventurers also travel to Everest by helicopter and arrive in China, where they experience the breathtaking landscape of Yangshou from a hot-air balloon.

Season 1 Episode 5: EPISODE: 5
The team’s peaceful ride through Vietnam comes to an abrupt end when they find themselves on a small speedboat adrift in rough seas. Charley visits the physical remnants of the country’s devastating war, the infamous network of underground tunnels at Vinh Moc, as well as the largest waterfalls in South Asia. He then dirt bikes in the local countryside and tries wakeboarding across Singapore.

Season 1 Episode 6: EPISODE: 6
The team have to find alternative transport after finding themselves on a sinking cargo boat en route to Borneo to help with a Unicef vaccination project. After flying to Bali, they embark on a series of journeys involving speedboats, traditional phinisi craft, overcrowded ferries and a hand-made boat to reach the shores of Australia. Once there, bad weather thwarts their attempt to take the most direct route to their final destination – Sydney. Last in series.

Welcome to Australia

The 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney were universally recognised as an overwhelming success. The Australian heroine from start, when she carried the Olympic torch into the stadium, to finish, as she crossed the line to take 400m gold, was the indigenous athlete Cathy Freeman. Against the will of many of her still oppressed people, she came to represent the symbol, albeit shallow, of reconciliation between White Australia and Aboriginal Australia.

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(Video hosted on Google.)

ut the frenzy of flames and fireworks surrounding the Games blinded the rest of the world to the darker side of a land down under. In 1999, John Pilger returned home to find that the elaborate preparations for the Games overshadowed a hidden world where Aborigines continue to live in Third World conditions. He revealed that some of the greatest sportsmen and women in the world were in fact Aboriginal. Many of them, like blacks in South Africa under Apartheid, were until recently denied a place in their country’s Olympic teams.

He also found that the Australian Government was in the process of overturning the landmark legislation of 1992 which finally recognised Aborigines as people with common law rights before the English colonised the country. ‘Welcome to Australia: The Secret Shame Behind the Sydney Olympics’ was the third film Pilger made on the Aboriginal struggle alongside fellow Australian, Alan Lowery. Their first investigation, the award-winning ‘The Secret Country – The First Australians Fight Back’, transmitted in 1985, is now widely used in schools and Aboriginal communities. This film was followed by the trilogy, ‘The Last Dream’, in 1988.

John Richard Pilger (born 9 October 1939) is an Australian journalist and documentary maker. One of only two to win Britain’s Journalist of the Year Award twice, his documentaries have received academy awards in Britain and the US. Based in London, he is known for his polemical campaigning style: “Secretive power loathes journalists who do their job, who push back screens, peer behind façades, lift rocks. Opprobrium from on high is their badge of honour.”

Pilger is a supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. In May 2007 he co-signed and put forward a letter supporting the refusal of the government of Venezuela to renew the broadcasting licence of Venezuela’s largest television network Radio Caracas Televisión, as they openly supported a 2002 coup attempt against the democratically elected government. Pilger and other signatories suggest that if the BBC or ITV used their news broadcasts to publicly support a coup against the British government, they would suffer similar consequences. Other groups, such as Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, have described the RCTV decision as an effort to stifle freedom of expression.

He has been subjected to much criticism, with Auberon Waugh in Britain coining the verb ‘to pilger’ to denote ‘to present information in a sensationalist manner to reach a foregone conclusion’. Noam Chomsky however, has claimed that the reason the term was invented is that faced with the uncomfortable truths Pilger presents, ridicule is the only response his critics are capable of.

Wild Down Under Tasmania

Wild Down Under is a BBC nature documentary series exploring the natural history of the Australasian continent, first transmitted in the UK on BBC Two in September 2003. It was broadcast in Australia under the title Wild Australasia in February 2004.

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(Video hosted on Google.)

he first episode provides an overview of Australia’s natural history. Tasmania gives a glimpse of Australia’s lush forests of the past. A group of Tasmanian devils are filmed squabbling over a wallaby carcass. In eastern Australia, buckling formed the Australian Alps, high enough to attract snowfall. Wombats bulldoze the snow to reach buried grass and platypus hunt shrimp in the mountain streams. In the ancient tropical rainforest of the Top End, cassowaries, striped possums and sugar gliders are filmed. Kangaroos and koalas inhabit the more open eucalpyt woodlands, and kookaburras feed their chicks in the nest hole. As Australia dried out, many rivers became intermittent or turned to creeks. Billabongs attract wildlife such as flocks of corella parrots, a sign of water to early explorers.They are curious, sociable birds, and are shown playing on branches and investigating the nest holes of budgerigars. In north Australia’s wet season, the tropical wetlands of Kakadu attract millions of magpie geese and other water birds. When the land begins to dry out again, freshwater crocodiles must move to avoid being trapped in shrinking pools. Aerial photography is used to show features of Australia’s deserts, such as parallel dunes and Uluru. A planigale hides from a taipan, the world’s deadliest snake, and a sand goanna digs out a scorpion. The Great Barrier Reef was formed 10,000 years ago as sea levels rose. At certain tides after a full moon, its corals engage in the planet’s greatest synchronised spawning event.

New Holland – Australia

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ew Holland is a historic name for the island continent of Australia. The name was first applied to Australia in 1644 by the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman as Nova Hollandia, naming it after the Dutch province of Holland, and remained in use for over 150 years.

After the establishment of a settlement at New South Wales in 1788, which encompassed the eastern part of the continent, the term New Holland was more often used to refer only to that part of the continent that had not yet been annexed to New South Wales; thus it referred to the area of land that is now Western Australia.

In 1804, Matthew Flinders recommended that the name Australia be adopted in preference to New Holland, but it was not until 1824 that the name change received official sanction by the United Kingdom. In the Netherlands Nieuw Holland would remain the usual name of the continent until the end of the 19th century; it is now no longer in use.

The Brethren

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The Exclusive Brethren are a secretive religious cult masquerading as a church. They refuse to vote yet spend millions of dollars endeavouring to influence elections around the world. Their political sway has now become a divisive issue in many countries. Members follow a rigid code of conduct based very strictly on Bible teaching, which provides a firm moral framework and is focussed on a strong family unit. They keep themselves separate from other people (including other Christians) as far as possible, because they believe the world is a place of wickedness. They regard ‘exclusiveness’ as the only way to keep away from evil.

The main group of Exclusive Brethren are called ‘Taylorites’ after James Taylor Senior and Junior who led the church for much of the twentieth century. Most of the information available about the group comes from people who have left it. As a result the Exclusive Brethren often gets a bad press and is referred to using phrases like “an exclusive and secret religious sect” or “a secretive church”. There are thought to be approximately 42,000 (2006 figure) in the Taylorite branch of the Exclusive Brethren worldwide. There are up to 15,000 Exclusive Brethren in Britain, with congregations in 98 towns (2002 figure).

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